Monday, September 15, 2014

Christianity Does Not Teach Good Morality Part 1

Alright, I understand that a good few of you are NOT going to like this series, but you're going to have to pay attention to what I say to understand what I mean.  I'm going to go into this in at least three parts:  a general, Christian Theology part (this one), a part specifically focusing on the Old Testament, and one focusing on Jesus and Paul (or at least what is purported to be Paul).  Perhaps I will also do a part on specific, minor sects of Christianity such as Calvinism and Christian Scientists, but for now, let us begin with the two words that (almost) all of Christianity agrees sums up their religion .

Jesus Saves

Indeed, almost all of Christians agree on this simple statement: Jesus Christ, specifically by believing in him, his death on the cross, and his resurrection, saves you from the consequences of your sin, namely Hell.  What this hell is varies from denomination from denomination, but the most popular is undoubtedly the "burn and be tortured forever in a lake of fire and brimstone" kind of place.  Indeed, one would be mad (or at least extremely masochistic) to wish to spend a minute, much less an eternity, there.  It is quite a powerful motivator to "do the right thing" as it were, whatever "the right thing" is.

Of course, this deterrent is not without its flaws, which is rather easy to illustrate with the following examples of Adolf Hitler (no, not godwinning), Josef Stalin, Mother Teresa, and Andrew Carnegie.  The first two are monsters of the first order, while the latter are two of the most charitable people known to mankind (Carnegie used much of his profits from the steel industry to libraries, concert halls, schools, and general public works projects.  He also wrote "The Gospel of Wealth" in which he emplored the well-off and rich to do the same).  Likewise, Hitler and Teresa believed in Jesus (we are going with general belief, and not any one particular sect, so don't complain about Teresa being Catholic and Hitler's...nebulous views [based on his actions and statements, I personally view his as a proto-new-age {if anti-mysticism}, unchurched believer]), whereas Stalin and Carnegie are both, at the very least, agnostic (Carnegie, like Jefferson, kept his views mainly to himself, it seems, though his writings point to light non-belief).  The main question is, "where did they go when they died?", and it is a surprisingly unpleasant answer.

Not What You'd Think

At first, the answer seems very obvious, with Hitler and Stalin going to Hell, whilst Teresa and maybe Carnegie going to Heaven.  But wait, where'd that "maybe" come from?  That's because Carnegie may not have believed in Jesus, so he may have also gone to Hell.  And therein lies the first problem:  You could live a squeaky clean life, but if you don't believe in Jesus, you can burn forever.  It doesn't matter what you did with your life, if you didn't believe that Jesus Died For Your Sins (TM), you get to burn in an eternal fire.  Sure, you could have a deathbed conversion; a story so popular for Charles Darwin that just thinking about it threatens to put me to sleep, but that has it's own problems.

Y'see, Jesus' "sacrifice" (if coming back after three days really counts as one) has one main flaw:  it's all-encompassing.  If Carnegie can have that deathbed conversion, so can Hitler.  Or Stalin.  or anybody monstrous.  By truly repenting of your sins before death, you get a free ticket to the inside of those Pearly Gates.  I could shoot you in the head and jump off of a building and then have a "come to Jesus" moment on the way down and BAM:  Instant no consequences murder with a free ticket to Heaven (remember, you "no suicide" folks:  the conversion came after the act but before the death). This is one of the main problems of Christian "morality".

Horrible Implications

That you can only get into heaven by accepting Jesus may at first seem like a good thing to christians:  after all, only GOOD people believe in Jesus, right?  Wrong.  Serial killers Jeffrey DahmerDavid "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, and Dennis "BTK" Rader are (or were, depending on execution/death) christians, with Dahmer "repenting" and coming to Jesus before execution - thus earning a place in Heavan and Berkowitz refusing parole because of Jesus.  And yet, we have Carnegie burning in hell when his worst "sin" was to question belief in god.  What kind of message does this send?

I find this message rather clear:  Your fellow humans don't matter, and anything you do to them is irrelevant so long as you believe and say "I'm sorry" to Jesus, who then readies the feast/party/whatever the hell it is you do in Heaven that, even if it's nothing, is still better than Hell, meanwhile if you even have the temerity to think "I'm not sure this one book is entirely accurate" it's barbeque time for you.  You can rape and murder and pillage all you want, but if you say "I'm sorry Jesus", well fuck your victims, it's not-Hell time!  Meanwhile you can spend all your time and money trying to fix the lives of the victims of that rape-murder-pillage spree, you go straight to hell if you think that Jesus didn't really resurrect.  This teaches that humans mean nothing, and that "I" am all that matters.  Sin all you want: so long as you ask Jesus, he'll make it "all better"...for you, anyway.

It gets worse.  With this loophole, we can also add that favorite bogeyman of Christianity (especially the more conservative branches) - Satan.  He is now an excuse to do even more bad shit, say you're "sorry" - now with an added "the devil made me do it" - and hey, back to the clouds with you!  This encourages believers to shirk off both accountability to your fellow humans and personal responsibility for your own actions:  neither of which - I think most Christians would agree with me on this - are moral to throw away.  Without these, we have no reason not to harm other people: it's not really your fault if Satan "controlled" you, and even without that they can't really do anything to you, after all, so long as Jesus forgives you.  What's a few years in jail compared to eternity in paradise?  For anyone to call this "moral" is perverting the word.

It's All Downhill From Here

And that is just what's wrong with the BASICS of Christian moral teaching.  Once we get into the barebones of just what Jesus, YHWH, and Paul preach about how we should act, it tends to get worse.  While admittedly, Jesus said some good things, these were also said alongside some things that we tend to ignore today.  In the next part, however, I intend to go into the Old Testament to show that the "Father" (who is somehow his own "son") isn't exactly the kind of person you should sit in the same building as, much less worship.

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